The Upside of Starting Late

The Upside

You see your peers flourishing and yet you find yourself trying to find your footing. Don’t despair because it’s not a bad thing, it’s a good thing. There are so many examples of people who went from nothing to overnight success and didn’t have the maturity or the wisdom to manage the success. Things happened too fast, too soon and they weren’t prepared to deal with sudden success, wealth and attention from fans and the media. And, because they weren’t prepared, some of them gave in to anxiety, stress and overwhelm – which resulted in drugs, alcohol and bad company. While this isn’t the path for everyone that has overnight success, it’s pretty much the story of so many celebrities. It’s startling how one can be so accomplished, living on top of the world and yet depressed. We find ourselves shocked when we hear that successful artists, designers, chefs, actors, businessmen take their lives because of hopelessness. So enough of the sad, drama…!

If you’re still feeling like you’re on turtle speed, take heart. Here are some points you should consider when evaluating your progress:

·You’re not in a race with anybody. This is not a competition and if you’re competitive, then compete with yourself by raising the bar every time you meet a goal. Comparison is poison! We don’t know what the other person had to deal with in order to get where they are — so, instead of measuring your progress against theirs, why not let their success inspire you?

Starting late whether you haven’t done anything or whether you’re reinventing yourself is OKAY. If you’re in your 40s, 50s, 60s or 70s – hopefully by now you have the wisdom that you didn’t have yesteryear….so when you dotake off, your success will be sustained because you’re wiser, stronger and you’ve been tried and tested. Think about how you obtained the wisdom you now possess. Yes, through experience! You endured through success, failures, bad mistakes and bad decisions. You’ve got a wealth of knowledge under your belt.

Success is appreciated now. You put blood, sweat, tears and prayers into it, so the reward is much sweeter and sustainable. You’ve learned not to jump on every opportunity until you’ve done the research, right? Also, you’re emotionally and intellectually smarter and can’t be fleeced. So…shoulders straight, chin up and let’s get busy.

Here’s a great example of someone who experienced greatersuccess later in life:

Toni Morrison Born: February 18, 1931; age 88! Birthplace: Lorain, Ohio Toni was the 2nd of 4 children to her working class African American parents. When she was about 2 years old, her family’s landlord set the house on fire where they lived because her parents couldn’t pay the rent. Instead of responding in despair, they laughed at the landlord’s behavior.

Toni read a lot as a child, some of her favorite authors were Jane Austen and Leo Tolstoy. In 1953, she graduated from Howard University with a B.A. in English. 1955, Toni graduated from Cornell University with a Master of Arts. In 1958, she married Harold Morrison and when Toni was pregnant with her second child, she and Harold divorced.

Toni worked at Random House as the first African American senior editor, bringing black literature into the mainstream. She helped a lot of new African American authors like Angela Davis and Gayl Jones. Later Toni Morrison developed her first novel, The Bluest Eye.

Work ethic and awards: Up at 4 am every morning to write while raising 2 children as a single parent The Bluest Eye was published in 1970, at age 39 – and didn’t sell many copies 1975, Toni Morrison wrote Sula and was nominated for the National Book Award, Age 44 She left writing for a while and taught English at SUNY and Rutgers University 1987, age 56, Toni Morrison published her most celebrated novel, Beloved. It was a critical success for 25 weeks. Beloved did not win the prestigious National Book Award, but two months later, Beloved won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Beloved went on to be cast as movie, starring Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover 1993, Toni Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, Age 62 2006, The New York Times Book review named Beloved the best work of American fiction published in the past 25 years. 

Good story, right? Can you envision yourself accomplishing some more goals right now? Good! Well, let’s get the wheels in motion. If you’ve done nothing but do a 9 to 5 job, you’re bored and have other passions, time to start believing again and stir up those gifts. If you’re already accomplished in something and you’ve got other passions that you can’t shake and shut down, then that means you’re still full, so maybe it’s time to put your gifts to work.

If you like fashion, then why not look into becoming a designer or a stylist? Clothes, fashion, jewelry – create your own trend. Interior designing? Then do the research and start your own business and work it as a side gig until you’re so flooded with requests, you have to let your day job go! What about going back to school and learning something new or getting a higher degree? Do you love the arts? Singing, dancing, acting? Remember Clara Peller, she was a manicurist at age 80 and someone heard her feisty voice in a barbershop and signed her up to do the Wendy’s commercial on “where’s the beef?” Sales for Wendy’s hamburger’s skyrocketed!

What about teaching, mentoring, coaching? So many young people need an example of maturity, wisdom and instruction (not all millennials are equal). If you like to paint, then start painting again – put some practice in it and try selling it on eBay, Facebook and Instagram – join other likeminded networks that can help propel you forward. What about inventing a product? What about public speaking? Running for public office? Travel the world – get a passport and see how beautiful the world is outside of your familiar surroundings. So, no time to look and compare yourself against others.

Perhaps you’re not behind schedule but you’re right on time. If you’re still full of dreams, desires, passions – then you’re not done. Don’t over think it – you might talk yourself out of it and never get it done.

And just because we’re older, doesn’t mean we’re done… we’re just getting started! We’re actually in half-time where we strategize and then execute how the last half of the game will go. We will beat all the odds of discouragement and comparison. It’s our game; it’s fair and we win!

Share on:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin